MANILA, Philippines -- (2nd UPDATE) After a tumultuous stay at University of Santo Tomas (UST), athletic swingman Rhenz Abando is set to transfer to Colegio de San Juan de Letran, according to multiple reports.
Abando leaves UST after just one season, in the wake of the "Sorsogon bubble" controversy. The team has been under investigation after training in Sorsogon, the hometown of former head coach Aldin Ayo, since June.
Also reportedly set to transfer to Letran are Brent Paraiso and Ira Bataller, who have also dropped out of UST after the issues surrounding the men's basketball program.
They are not the first players to leave the team -- the departure of former captain CJ Cansino brought the whole issue into national spotlight.
Letran coach Bonnie Tan, who led the Knights to the NCAA Season 95 championship, has yet to reply to a request for comment.
However, he posted the following image on his Facebook account.
Abando should have three more seasons to play in the NCAA. He became a sensation immediately for UST, after averaging 11.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game for the Growling Tigers.
But his stay at the university was a controversial one as well, as Ayo memorably benched him midway through the season and later revealed that other schools were "poaching" Abando.
Abando stayed with the team and helped the Growling Tigers reach the finals, where they lost to Ateneo de Manila University.
Bataller is expected to have three more seasons of eligibility as well, while Paraiso has two more.
Letran will host Season 96 of the NCAA, which will be scaled down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In May, it was reported that the school will downsize its athletic operations as it deals with the impact of the health crisis. The school withdrew from several events, including volleyball, football, and track and field. Moreover, it reduced athletic scholarships and discounts to just 372 students starting the 2020-21 academic year.